More trial by turbo


We’re having it all in March – rain, snow, sun (but not much), wind and now hail stones. Variety may the spice of life but it’s no great help to cycling outside.

With poor weather it’s been the turbo again this week. That’s OK by me as I’d be a bit cautious about taking to the roads until I know my back will be up to it. So far, the turbo has been fine but I’d not want to have a back problem 30 miles from home.

I’ve discovered a useful bit of psychology that seems to work for me on the turbo. In the past I’ve typically used it for a set period – usually an hour. The problem with that is that there is little incentive to push harder towards the end, as cycling faster doesn’t get you to the finish any quicker.

I’m now looking to cycle a specific distance (50km at the moment) – so there is benefit in pushing harder. My speeds have increased as a result and the distance that I’m aiming for ensures that I’m riding for more than an hour anyway.

Tuesday’s effort was 1:04:22 for 50 km at 46.6 kph (31 miles at 28.9 mph). That’s down from 1:08:38 on Monday. Wednesday was 1:05:15 for the 50 km (with very tired legs).

One thing I’ve never really understood is how hours on the turbo equate to hours on the road. I appreciate that it would be a very rough guide as not all hours on the road (or turbo) are created equal, and all turbos seem to differ.

I read that an hour on the turbo is equal to 90 minutes on the road – but that came with no evidence. I guess the theory is that turbos are relentless effort – but also there are no hills (for the old, non-clever ones like mine) so I’m not sure.

Interestingly, I’m pedalling about 50% faster on the turbo than I can on the road – but I guess that might just be a meaningless coincidence.

Of course, I’m just looking for reassurance that the work I’m putting in will pay off when I get outside – especially for the White Horse Challenge next month. Such mental fragility!

It was back to the gym today for an hour. My back is pretty well healed – only a couple of twisting movements cause any discomfort so I kept to the machines that keep the back static and they worked well.

After that I did not feel like getting on the turbo this evening – but I did. My legs were very unhappy about it from the beginning so we did a deal – half distance if they went for it hard.

So, 25 km in 29:00 at 51.7 kph (15.5 miles at 32.14 mph).

That leaves just the 25 km to do by Sunday to complete my 200 km target for the week.

Happy Easter to everyone.



3 thoughts on “More trial by turbo

  1. bgddyjim

    I’d go the other way with the equation… An hour on the road is worth two on the trainer. Problem is, most people aren’t crazy enough to put in two hours on the turbo!

    Smart trainers are different though. They equal things out, closer to 1 to 1. The only difference being the upper body is static on a turbo. It gets some work on the road.

    One thing is certain, the turbo is better than nothing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. theandyclark

    The only way I know to compare is with caloric burn, or maybe Watts or METs, but I’m calorie focused. On that, I find it pretty close to an even call, though as bgddyjim has said – it’s a lot easier to talk yourself into extra miles in the saddle. All of these measures are imperfect, but what they do show you is that if you push yourself on one, but not the other, you get a noticeably bigger payback where your pushing yourself. Go figure?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Omil Post author

      … and after this, we’ll go on to solve the mysteries of Bigfoot, the yeti, the Loch Ness Monster and the Bermuda Triangle (which will probably be easier).



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